Maybe there is something to this idea that, in a recession, Voice over IP service is an affordable alternative to traditional telephone service.
In the first half of 2009, VoIP services brought in nearly $21 billion in revenue, with both residential and business services looking healthy and poised for even more growth for the second half of the year, according to a report by market research firm Infonetics Research.
Residential voice services still brings in the majority of revenue, with the number of subscribers growing 14 percent from the end of 2008 through the first half of '09. On the business side, the research firm said it expected IP Centrex and hosted unified communications service revenue to grow 26 percent year-over-year.
But the current sweet spot, at least in North America, is small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. In the first half of the year, roughly two-thirds of all IP Centrex seats sold went to small businesses.
In an earlier post, Andrew Nusca offered some insight into VoIP from K. Paul Singh, CEO of Primus, the parent company of Lingo VoIP services. In that interview, Singh said that VoIP has gone from being "a new thing" several years ago to a technology that people have become comfortable with. Now, that's opened the door to Phase 2: Growth.
The technology, he said, gets better by the day, improving quality and allowing the operators to introduce new applications. Plus, the costs are lower. Pricing remains somewhere between $20 and $40 per month because it involves use of the public Internet. Said Singh:
We don’t have to pay telephone companies for “the last mile” — to originate the call. Slowly and slowly, more international customers will go onto broadband, removing telephone companies on both sides.